Around the World in 80+ Books, Part 4

Welcome back for another travel extravaganza! I looked back over the previous posts, and realized I occasionally failed to mention the country I stopped in. So I will go back and reformat those posts, and now list the name of the country first. Got your passports stamped? Let’s go!

61. Jordan. We start off with two very different perspectives of the same country. The first, Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite Van Geldermalsen tells an intriguing story of a New Zealand nurse who ends up, well, married to a Bedouin. The reviews wish she had done more than describe the events, and put more emotions into the book. Still, it’s a marvelous concept and a look at every day Jordan. The second book is Leap of Faith : Memoirs of an Unexpected Life by Queen Noor. This is the story of a very beautiful woman who loved her husband and her new country, in spite of some culture shock. And he just happened to be the king, so she’s the queen, and not just an ordinary woman. Mixed reviews, so make up your own mind.

62. Saudi Arabia. This book fascinates me. I am certainly going to read it. Finding Nouf by Z. Ferraris is a mystery, a love story, and a fairly highly rated story in Goodreads reviews. The blurb mentions the detective’s years of yearning for love and intimacy, and that is what hooked me.

63. United Arab Emirates. I can’t say no to a Duke. And this story is a wonderful adventure based partly on the experiences of the author. The Duke of Dubai by Luigi Falconi includes glossaries and appendices to increase your reading enjoyment.

64. Oman. Here’s the discovery of a lifetime! A book on Goodreads that no one has rated yet! Be the first to read and review Dust and Fury: A Gripping Family Saga Set in Oman During the 1960s Dhofar Rebellion by David Barnet! Well, if we can believe the notes about the book, there’s love, loyalty, bravery, betrayal, and revenge. It’s also a gripping story that will keep any reader entertained.

65. Yemen. This country brings up a shelf full of non-fiction, and while that’s not against my criteria, I prefer non-fiction. The Woman Who Fell From the Sky by Jennifer Steil is a true story of one journalist who went to help a small paper in another country, and fell in love with the strength of Arab women in the work place. The fiction novel that interested me is The Yemenite Girl by Curt Levant, but there’s very little information about it. So once more, take your choice or try both.

66. Eriterea. Searching for novels that are set on Eriterea, I could only come up with collections of poetry. Possibly there are books that haven’t been translated into English yet. But why not absorb a little poetry if it’s the best voice of the country? Who Needs a Story? is a collection of poems from three decades, edited by Charles Cantalupo. While not always inspiring works, the patriotic bent is admirable.

67. Djibouti. Elmore Leonard gave us Get Shorty and his 10 Rules of Writing. That could be a career right there. But there is an impressive list of other books he’s written and no explanation for this one. Djibouti is the name of the book. It’s a twisting, gripping, sometimes playful, and humorous story of modern-day piracy. Or is it?

68. Ethiopia. I wish I had known about the Girls of Many Lands series long ago. Each novel is written by a different author. Saba: Under the Hyena’s Foot by Jane Kurtz is a rags to riches tale of superior quality. Maybe just the spark needed for a young reader who may one day be a writer.

69. Bahrain. Speaking of young readers and writers, The Meeting Place by Lucy Caldwell came about from a visit to Bahrain when she was seven years old. The country got under her skin, until she began to dream of it. And the writing flowed. Northern Ireland may have more in common with Bahrain than we know.

70. Qatar. We’re all about cultural expectations here at Around the World Book Tours. You may be surprised to read that. I know I was. But the novel Love Comes Later by Mohanalakshmi Rajakumar explores the similarities between India and Qatar, in how women are valued and treated. There’s stuff about meetings and sparks, so I am in!

71. Sri Lanka. Such a lush country could hardly be explored through a normal type of novel. Instead, I picked Children of the Lion by Carl Muller. This is a fable and a folklore tale with prophecies and pincesses and kings and battles, like any good saga would have. A tour de force of the imagination.

72. Afghanistan. I loved the movie The Kite Runner, in spite of the brutal and savage events. The eventual human love that came about redeemed the brutality to an extent. So here’s another story by the same author. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

73. Somalia. You might not think having the person you were crazy about in high school show up wanting to make a baby with you to be all that bad of an occurrence. Or maybe it could be the worst that could happen. And if your country is in turmoil at the same time, it’s possible the results will not be what you hoped for. Secrets by Nuruddin Farah.

74. Kenya. You should immediately recognize the top books on the Goodreads list of novels set in Kenya. Out of Africa, Flame Trees of Thika, and all the Born Free saga books. I really wanted to find a book about actual Kenyans, not European colonists, so I kept looking. I liked the premise of a few selections, but the reviews were not encouraging. Then I clicked on a book that I thought had gotten in the novel list in error. The Guide to the Birds of East Africa by Nicholas Drayson is a novel, and the characters are Kenyans, and not only their own intriguing story but that of the country plays a part. And the reviews were consistently favorable.

75. Uganda. A failing of mine, or a reason I write romances, is that I want a happy every after (HEA) ending. Such a brutal history as that of Uganda might only have that in an all out fantasy. So I am going to take a chance on White Teeth by Okot p’Bitek. A story at least of some humor, this sounds like a comedy of errors taking place in Africa. A bride price to prove he can be a good husband and provide for his future wife. I’m in.

76. South Sudan. The Lost Boys have always touched my heart, but as well, the girls and women who were used abominably. Finding a novel that gives a promise of the endurance of hope is the closest to a HEA I am likely to find. While the Sun is Above us by Melanie Schnell looks at the horror of innocents caught up in a war they want no part of.

77. Chad. Only three books come up for this country. One is about child soldiers. One is poorly translated. But I think I would have chosen this book no matter what. It’s a children’s story about going to school. I was not what one would call a good student, or even a willing student. I had many issues, but now I am mature enough to appreciate the fact that I could go to school. I didn’t have to help on the farm, I wasn’t turned away for being a girl, and schools were open to everyone where I grew up. How different it is for Thomas in Rain School by James Rumford.

78. Central African Republic. The temptation is great to go with Malaria Dreams by Stuart Stevens. But it only starts in CAR, and then moves along. Better, I think, to go with Song from the Forest: My Life Among the Ba-Benjelle Pygmies by Louis Sarno. I love the music of the Deep Forrest recordings, so this is a great addition to what I learned researching that CD.

79. Cameroon. Africa, you may or may not know, is big. And there are so many things going on that a single heart can hardly comprehend them. Animals need saving, people need feeding, politicians need morals, and children need loving. Here’s a book written by a man who got to experience many facets of that world. A woman of Africa by Nick Roddy.

80. Nigeria. Well. I like all the books I have investigated her, from Half a Yellow Sun by C.N. Adichie to I Do Not Come to You by Chance by A.T. Nwaubani. But reading a review from a monogamous woman saying that in spite of her expectation that a book about polygamy would teach her nothing, and yet it did, made up my mind. The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives by Lola Shoneyin.


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